The NY Knicks announced on Saturday that they waived, among others, Joakim Noah. Signed for $72 million by Phil Jackson before the ’16/’17 season, Noah still had two years on his contract what would’ve paid him 18,5 million in ’18/’19 and 19,3 million in ’19/’20 (via Spotrac). By cutting him the Knicks have cleared a roster spot but will still have the 18,5 million count against the cap this year. They will also use the stretch provision on the last year of his contract so instead of having 19 million of ‘dead money’ in ’19/’20 they will stretch that amount through three years having 6,3 million counting against the cap until the ’20/’21 season.
The Knicks tried to find a trade partner to offload Noah but were not willing to add a valuable asset in the trade. This is one of the “2016 contracts” when the cap spike created a lot of bloated contracts bound to be overpriced in the years to come, so it’s not a big surprise finding a trade partner was mission impossible for the Knicks. As Noah was not willing to agree to a buyout, this was the only avenue left to cut him from the team.
His time in New York was mostly spent off the court, as Noah was riddled with injuries and provided minimal contribution on the court. The ’13/’14 NBA Defensive Player of the Year was far from his best days, where he was expected to anchor the defense and mentor young Porzingins. He played in only 53 games for the Knicks, averaging 4.6 points, 7.9 rebounds, and 2.0 assists while shooting 49.1 percent from the field, making his contract look even more expensive when analyzed on a per-game basis.
Joakim Noah’s time with the Knicks didn’t go as planned ? pic.twitter.com/r3lPmdwhvq
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) October 13, 2018
This did not provide cap relief in this season but is a way to create more room for the Knicks next offseason when a lot of tantalizing free agents will be on the market, such as Kevin Durant, Jimmy Butler, Kawhi Leonard, Klay Thompson to name a few. The move does not clear a cap slot for a max player but makes it manageable to clear space if the Knicks get a commitment from one next summer. With Porzingis expected to return in February, this season should be percieved as developmental for the young players on the roster and getting a high lottery pick to pair with Porzingis, Knox and a potential free agent next summer.